There is no limit to perfection. It took as close to 75 years for 100 million people to adopt telephones, yet only a day to get that same number of people onto a mobile app. Founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schawb, has characterized the blurred lines between technology and society as the 4th Industrial Revolution, and like past technological advancements, the present rise in new systems and operations is set to reshape industries across the globe, including warehousing, T&L, healthcare, and many others.
However, unlike past innovations, today’s new technologies, such as RFID and advanced machine learning, bring a new level of automation that enhances an employee’s unique capabilities by valuing critical skills and simplifying routine operations. As a result, Avalon Integration explores popular technologies due to redefining modern-day supply chains with more efficiency and visibility.
Efficiency and Developing Purposeful Connected Labor
As labor costs continue to rise worldwide, the need for purposeful labor increases as well. To develop purposeful and cost-efficient practices, automated systems relieve employees to focus on more pressing tasks. Nevertheless, automation’s usefulness has also been perceived as a threat. Research conducted by the Gallup Research Center found that almost 73% of working Americans believe intelligent machines may eliminate jobs. On the other hand, 61% of responding warehouses reported relying on a combination of both technology and human effort. Today’s most advanced technologies still require human collaboration. Therefore, automation’s goal is not to outright replace labor but to enhance it. A few examples include:
- RFID – Able to gather over 40 codes into one tag, RFID further maximizes visibility by tracking asset movement, market demands, and storage requirements all through one solution. This reduces the need for extraneous labeling while diminishing processing errors as products are prepared for shipment.
- Wearable Technology – Further elevating warehouse ergonomics, wearable technology such as Zebra’s WT6000 can increase productivity by 15% by pairing accuracy with speed, so workers can process more inventory with less Moreover, wearable technology proves to be highly adaptable as it accommodates other technologies with less space. As a matter of fact, over 70% of warehousing facilities seek to employ wearable technology within the next five years.
- Hands-Free Picking – To eliminate additional time-consuming touchpoints, hands-free picking and voice picking accelerate workflows when integrated into wearable technology.
- Internet of Things (IoT) – Breaking the established limits of connectivity, IoT expands visibility with real-time updates. Crucial data can be tracked and modified across a whole warehouse…and even outside the four walls.
- Blockchain – Taking connectivity beyond singular teams, blockchain technology brings every member of your supply chain closer, from manufacturers to retailers. With data safely updated across a whole supply chain, fewer bottlenecks threaten inventory as transparency is maximized.
The future is filled with new uncharted opportunities. To see how these technologies and more can strengthen your workforce, contact us for an in-depth assessment and/or demonstration at your convenience.